Thursday, May 12, 2005

Clayton 2000 Zinfandel

Clayton Zin 2000Earlier this week I’d mentioned I was thinking of opening a Zinfandel from the Lodi area. Yes indeed I did get around to that this evening. The result: Hmmm, mixed.

I first ran across the Clayton Zinfandel about a year ago. It was something that Grapevine Market was highlighting that week and my recent interests in Lodi Zins at the time was enough to get me to buy. The one I bought then really impressed me. Unfortunately I wasn’t keeping notes as well so I don’t remember which vintage it was or any other details. But I liked it enough to buy two more over the last year, a 2000 and a 2001.

The back-of-the-bottle info says “Low yields, 80 year old vines, and aged in French oak combine to produce a wine of complexity.” I’d agree with the complexity, but had I tasted the same thing a year ago that I tasted this evening, I probably wouldn’t have ended up with two more on the rack.

This wine is interesting or perhaps odd is a better description. Upon first sniff I thought, wow, this bouquet is huge. But the taste that followed can only be described as a mouth full of dried leaves. Remember jumping into a pile of dry leaves on a warm autumn afternoon as a kid? Ok, now you’ve got it. Something’s just not quite right about this. This is not what I remember from the bottle I had last year.

An hour and a half after opening the bottle, it evened out a little bit. It seemed to taste a little less like wood. In fact, it got a little more likeable. Although, perhaps it’s the 15.6% alcohol that changed my opinion.

I went back to visit the Clayton web site that I had visited some time in the past to see if I could find some other details on this wine and found that the ‘Clayton Vineyards’ web page is no longer active. So, perhaps this winery is no longer producing wines. You can find a reference to a bronze medal for it on the web site.

Update: I think I'm just going to have to call this bottle tainted in some way. I have the 2001 of this wine as well and will try again another day.

About $21 (Austin – Grapevine Market)
mixed interest. Chalking it up to a tainted bottle. Big ruby red wine with soft mouth feel and big aroma, but extremely and strangely oaky. At 15.6%, high alcohol.

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At 9:44 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Just opened a bottle of 2000 Clayton and was pleased from the first whiff. My memory raced back to those great bottles of wine Ive opened and you know your in for a special treat. However after the first taste, my thought was...... dam, this needs a couple of more years to mellow out. Where do I get a couple of more bottles to lay away?


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